Ensuring PR activity hits the target

TargetLast week it was Spark’s annual summer day out, which generally entails some sort of team building activity followed by ‘light’ refreshment (read: alcohol).  This year our chosen activity was axe throwing and air rifle shooting, which was good fun and everyone got through it unscathed.  Of course both of those activities are target-related and it made me think about the different types of targets I encounter in PR on a daily basis – a tenuous link I know!

  • Media targets – When carrying out any media relations activity it is important that you have a targeted media list and fully understand the beats of the journalists you are pitching to.  It certainly isn’t rocket science, yet if you look at Twitter you could be mistaken as there seems to be a daily journalist gripe on Twitter about badly targeted press releases/pitches.  These days a blanket approach towards PR simply doesn’t work – to ensure you get the best results (and don’t p*ss off a lot of journalists) a targeted approach to media relations is essential.
  • Targeted message – Whether it is through a press release, by-lined article or feature comment, ensuring your client’s message comes across is important.  The real skill is ensuring that the target message doesn’t come across too blatantly and talks to the issues affecting businesses and consumers.  Both journalists and readers are more likely to respond more favourably if PR messages aren’t just thinly-veiled adverts.
  • Target audience – In technology PR it is imperative that you understand who your target audience is. Are you targeting end-users organisations or the channel? CEO or CIO? Enterprise or SME? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when writing press releases, opinion pieces, blog posts, etc. Your content is more likely to be read and shared if your target audience can relate to it.
  • Coverage targets – The quality and quantity of coverage still generally remains the best barometer to measure the success of PR activity.  So when carrying out any media relations activity you should always set yourself a target in terms of where you would expect coverage to appear and follow best practice to try and ensure this happens.  Here at Spark we even go as far as giving our clients a minimum coverage guarantee based on a set of quarterly PR deliverables.

By following the above you will certainly have more chance of your PR campaigns hitting the bullseye.

(Image: By Alberto Barbati (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

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